Sunday, March 11, 2012

We're still trading

Baseball cards have changed so much since the 1970's.

But yet it's still the same in a lot of ways, perhaps even better than before.

Kids would rip open their packs that they just purchased from a local establishment and do the "Need it. Got it. Got it. Need it." routine on the street corner with their friends.

Even then, I'm sure that many kids had "tradebait" cards, hoping to snag that coveted Carl Yastrzemski or "Catfish" Hunter card that their friend owned.

Unfortunately, I didn't grow up in that era. I never ran down to the corner store to buy a twenty-five cent wax pack. Instead, I go to Target and have to worry about pack-searchers.

I never got to open packs on a street corner with my friends. Instead, I bring the bag back home and open them by myself in the comfort of my own room.

However, there is one thing I can still relate to.


Granted, it's a lot different these days. There was a short period of time when I had baseball card-collecting friends to trade with, but those days are long gone.

Nope, I do my trading online these days.

Sure, I never got the nostalgia of being at my friend's house on a summer day, sitting around and trading cardboard.

But thanks to the advent of online trading, I'm the proud owner of cards that I could never have dreamed of owning before.

Without online trading, all I'd have is Target and the occasional card show.

There'd be no way to get anything else.

Thanks to online trading, I can add a beautiful Johnny Bench insert to my collection for a few unwanted Jason Giambi cards.

I can get all the base cards I need from the newest products.

A dozen Topps Heritage cards from New Jersey. Twenty A&G from California.

Traders all across the globe collect baseball cards. Perhaps you have something they wanted and they have something you need.

A trade is born, even though you've never met the person face-to-face. All I have to do is slap a few stamps on a mailer and they're on their way. Baseball cards supersede postage increases, because an extra twenty cents isn't going to stop us from trading!

Without the internet, I'd never be able to find any cards from the newest sets after they come out. I'd have to wait a few months until the next card show to get my fill, or just keep dropping money on packs that may or may not contain all doubles.

It's great to see that thousands of people are helping each other out almost instantly after each set is released.

It wasn't that easy a few decades ago.

Of all the packs of Topps I opened last year, I only pulled a few Diamond Anniversary cards I needed for my collection.

But thanks to other collectors around the country, I was able to fill my binders with these Diamond beauties. I must've traded for about a hundred or so of these cards over the course of 2011.

They look great in my collection.

The other side to trading is the rewarding feeling that you're sending someone else a card they really want, a card they'll cherish.

Ryan over at "Ryan's Pitch" recently made a post stating that he was down to just one card for his 2011 Topps Lineage set.

None other than card #175, CC Sabathia.

When I read that, I thought, "Hmm...I wonder if that's one of the ones I have in my doubles box?"

It turned out that it was. I contacted Ryan saying that I had the card for him.

The enthusiasm in the email he sent back reminded me of why trading is so great.

Instead of sitting in my doubles box, collecting dust, this CC Sabathia card will go to a home where it is truly appreciated.

After all, isn't that what it's all about?

I've been trading online for about six or seven years now.

The first trading forum I ever joined was an MLB Showdown forum when I was about eleven or twelve years old. I traded on there for about a year or so back when those cards were still coming out on a yearly basis. I was fascinated by the fact that you could actually have cards sent from New York arrive in three or four days.

Even though that forum isn't around anymore, it set me going down my trading path.

Since then, I've completed almost three thousand trades through a few different forums. (I try not to think about how much I've paid in shipping.)

Just when I thought I had online trading all figured out, this blog came around.

I know I've gone on about it before, but I still can't believe how great all the people in the blogosphere are.

I've only got about a dozen trades under my belt so far, but each and every one of them has been fantastic. Those packages have been among my favorite to rip open in my years of online trading.

Whether it was some 2012 Topps inserts or some neat cards for my HOF collection, I've enjoyed every minute of it.

I often ask myself if I'd even still be collecting if the option of trading online wasn't around.

To tell you the truth, I don't think I would be. Perhaps it's just because I never really personally knew anyone who was into cards as much as I was, or maybe it's just because I grew up in an age of technology. All I know is that I just couldn't imagine coming home each day and not looking forward to checking the mail.

I still get a rush when I see a couple of those bright yellow mailers inside, just waiting to be opened.

I don't see that excitement going away anytime soon.


night owl said...

I can honestly say that as an adult I have traded with only one other collector in person. It was a guy who worked in the same building as me. It actually rekindled my interest in collecting and, when I think about it, led to starting a blog.

He doesn't work where I do anymore and we've lost touch. Good thing I have like a 100 people online who like to trade.

hiflew said...

I have actually done the opposite in my trading. I started out trading in the blog world and am just now discovering the "value-based" trading sites. I am not much of a book value guy, but the Beckett trading site has its usefulness especially in trading for specific cards. That being said, nothing beats getting an unknown hodgepodge of Rockies from one of the 50+ blog buddies and sorting through them. I never did trade much in person even as a kid, because here in Kentucky there aren't that many card collectors (or sports fans in general excluding UK basketball).

Robert said...

I had my trading buddies when I was a kid, but as far as trading live and in person as an adult...nada, zip, zilch.

I wasn't until I discovered blogs last summer that my interest in trading was rekindled. 60+ blog trades, and a few trades on other sites later, it's something that I will continue to enjoy for quite a long time.